Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Fan Poster/Movie Review

Fan art for Friday the 13th Part 8, hand drawn and inked, colored in photoshop

Fan art for Friday the 13th Part 8, hand drawn and inked, colored in photoshop

Movie Review: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

(Director: Rob Hedden, Music: Fred Mollin, Jason: Kane Hodder)

Let me start this review by saying this is a terrible movie. But with a title like “Jason Takes Manhattan,” how could anyone possibly take it seriously? I think we all know what we’re getting into.

Immediately the tone of this movie is different from all the rest, and intentionally so. We open in New York—a city of sludge, crime, and drug addicts. It’s a hilariously grim and oddly poetic view of New York, and to be fair, this was not a very nice city at the end of the eighties. So many it’s not that far off…

We segue to Crystal Lake to resurrect Jason who apparently has had a power line laid on top of his dead body since the last film (seriously, does ANYONE dredge the bodies out of this lake?!). Then suddenly we’re… where the hell are we? Alaska? Giant mountains towering over a foggy ocean dock where apparently a bunch of 25-year-old high schoolers are about to take a graduation cruise to… New York. Yay…

This whole movie is ridiculous, but we knew that from the title. So, bearing that in mind, this movie is oddly enjoyable and entertaining and sometimes downright hilarious. The cinematography is much cleaner and better shot then The New Blood, as is the acting, writing, and special effects. If this cast and crew had made a New Blood instead, we might have actually had a good movie.

Jason has a lot of personality in this one, as Kane Hodder (who requested to reprise his role) was really starting to get a feel for the character. Jason looks and acts a bit more like his old self, though he’s entirely drenched in slime which is gross. Jason now not only sounds like Darth Vader with his heavy mask breathing, but he has also learned the power of teleportation, seemingly popping up from nowhere. The whole film is very supernatural and apparently all of Jason’s final girls must be either crazy, psychic, or both.

So we sail on. Jason kills people. Then, inexplicably, the ship starts taking on water (could it simply not handle a storm on the open sea? not very sea worthy…) Then all surviving students are literally dismissed to their death at the suggestion that there “is no more restaurant.” Why exactly is there no more restaurant? Wait… where the hell was the restaurant?!

…there never was a restaurant, was there? You’re playing with me again, movie… haha, you…

Then on to New York Vancouver where we have a pretty fun third act with Jason stomping through diners, scaring punks on the street, and killing heroin-addict-rapists. No one seems to give a shit about Jason in New York, which is kind of funny but also kind of creepy. The idea that you’d be chased through the city by a maniac who wants to kill you and no one would help you, or care, is pretty horrifying. Then we get Jacko-Jason (imagine if Jason put on one of those masks from Halloween III and it melted on him) and he drowns in toxic waste.

At the end, Jason really does feel dead. There’s a finality to this film. It really was meant to end the series, and it does so well enough though it all feels so… icky. We’re not at Crystal Lake, we’re not really in the same franchise anymore.

Movie Trivia:

  • Budget restrains prevented most of the original scenes written for New York city, so the movie was shifted to take place the majority of time on a boat. Also, it was shot mostly in Vancouver, rather then New York
  • Kane Hodder was not originally intended to play Jason, he specifically contacted Paramount to request the role.
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